EU and EBRD stepping up reform support in Ukraine

By Anton Usov

EU and EBRD stepping up reform support in Ukraine

€8 million contribution to EBRD-managed Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account

The European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are stepping up their efforts to support the reform process in Ukraine with the EU contributing €8 million to the EBRD-managed Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account.

This fund finances, among others, a programme launched in October to strengthen the support of reforms, particularly within the country’s public administration. Teams of Ukrainian professionals from outside the civil service have started working in ministries on a temporary basis to support the implementation of priority reforms and transform the ministries themselves in line with the recently adopted Ukraine Public Administration Reform Strategy for 2016-20.

To date, the first Reform Support Teams have been launched at the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. A further roll-out of the programme is imminent at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Regional Development and Ecology and other ministries and state agencies.

Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, said: “We are grateful for the EU’s contribution to the effort to support the reform process in Ukraine. The establishment of an efficient, professional and transparent public administration with highly motivated, dedicated and well-educated staff is one of the most important steps in this endeavour. The EU’s commitment will make a strong impact on our success.”

Hugues Mingarelli, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, added: "We attach highest priority to the support of the reform of the public administration in Ukraine and the renewal of the country’s civil service. The €8 million contribution to the EBRD-managed Multi-Donor Account is just one of several examples of EU support in this area. It will be complemented by a €104 million programme focusing on the implementation of the comprehensive reform of the public administration. This reform will help create merit-based recruitment in the civil service and performance-based assessment. It will also result in better public services for the citizens of Ukraine."

The Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account was established at the EBRD in November 2014 to support Ukraine’s efforts to reform its economy, improve its business climate and return to a path of sustainable growth. The other contributors to the fund are Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In addition to the work of the Reform Support Teams which are part of the wider reform support architecture of Ukraine, the fund also finances Ukraine’s first Business Ombudsman Council, an institution to facilitate fighting corruption, increasing investment attractiveness and to promote the principles of fairness, openness and accountability within the public service.

The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. To date, the Bank has made a cumulative commitment of almost €12 billion through 369 projects since the start of its operations in the country in 1993.

Since the signing of the EU Association Agreement in 2014, Ukraine has made progress towards the implementation of reforms and the EU has already committed more than €4.3 billion in new grants and loans, of which over half has been disbursed. The EU’s macro-financial assistance to Ukraine is the biggest loan the EU has ever given to a non-member state (wherein €3.4 billion has been mobilised and €2.2 billion already disbursed with the rest pending).